UPDATE: The embattled Meadowbrook Bank building was demolished in early December 2019 to make way for a car dealership. The property was eligible for listing on the National and State Registers of Historic Places and had immense potential for revitalization using financial incentives from both the Federal and State Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit Programs and other support.
We extend our deepest thanks to all the local residents and supporters who worked so hard to save it. The lessons learned from this unfortunate loss will help strengthen our advocacy work throughout Long Island.
The following blog post was published in September 2017:
By Sarah Kautz, Preservation Director, Preservation Long Island
When the Meadowbrook Bank (aka the First National Bank) was constructed in 1929, it was the tallest building on Long Island east of Jamaica. Reminiscent of an Art Deco version of the Flatiron building, the Meadowbrook Bank features a distinctive façade with Mayan-style reliefs and a lobby finished in Caen marble and bronze. The bank went on to achieve its envisioned role in promoting commercial development, yet the building’s even bolder vision for property development in Freeport was never quite realized. Perhaps, with the sale of the property in March 2017 to the DiNoto Group, a Huntington-based real estate investment company, this visionary building will, at last, take its place as the distinguished centerpiece of a dynamic setting.
According to Freeport Mayor Robert Kennedy, plans are being considered for a mixed-use building at the site with retail space and 250 rental apartments for seniors. The village has yet to confirm whether the Meadowbrook Bank will be demolished, or if its revitalization will play a role in the redevelopment plan.
Demolition would result in a truly regrettable loss, especially since the building’s renowned architects, the Hoggson Brothers, specifically designed the Art Deco style bank to adapt to a denser built environment. Indeed, the Meadowbrook Bank was always meant to evolve with its growing community. The building’s eligibility for the National Register of Historic Places, moreover, offers a clear financial incentive for reuse through rehabilitation tax credits as well as other funding opportunities from New York State via the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council.
What might a revitalized Meadowbrook Bank look like? Perhaps the bank’s potential is suggested by its resemblance to Manhattan’s iconic Flatiron building. Like the Flatiron, the Meadowbrook Bank could serve as the focal point of a successful revitalization of its surrounding community. The bank’s architectural vision is ready and waiting to be rediscovered as redevelopment plans for the site move forward. Hopefully, the new owners will embrace the Meadowbrook Bank’s long-neglected value as “Freeport’s Flatiron“, a great untapped historic and architectural resource on Long Island.